The 4 biggest retail trends for 2021
Time to consume: 4 min
18 February 2021
In 2020 the world has turned upside down. The Covid-19 pandemic led to major shifts within retail and transformed the way consumers shop like never before. In this blog, you’ll get insights about the 4 main retail trends for 2021, both as a cause of the pandemic and other ongoing market changes. All summarised by Retail Institute Scandinavia in collaboration with Ebeltoft Group – global retail & brand experts.
1. Omni Integration
The emergence of Covid-19 speed up the need for technology adaptions and digital innovations that allow consumers to always be connected. They can shop, return, or share products anytime and anywhere at the touch of a button. Bricks and mortar and the online channel are no longer separate entities, but complementary platforms that improve the retail experience. Customers no longer distinguish between the physical and digital worlds. They want to be served at any time, anywhere and through every channel. An omni experience encompasses everything from online to offline experiences. With click and collect, augmented reality assistants, endless aisle, lockers, and data-driven stores, omni experience dominates retail today.
2. Extreme Convenience
The modern consumer is busy, and the era of seamless, frictionless retailing is here. Due to the pandemic the customer wants to shop faster and more efficiently than before. Friction is every barrier we put in place to prevent customers from buying a product. Retailers are removing friction from the experience by adding elements of technology, subscriptions, delivery, and pick-up, while also streamlining the key elements of everyday operations. Safety, fast shopping and convenient one-stop-shopping is getting more and more important, and retailers are leveraging technology to expedite services and create a seamless experience. Further, offering customer service online is a hot topic since 2020, and pick-up locations are popping up around the world to get items in customers’ hands conveniently and quickly. Barriers — ordering, checkout, product availability — are removed through technology advancements.
3. Extreme Experience
Before the corona outbreak, consumers were craving physical experience and entertainment. This trend has been slowed down by Covid-19. Nonetheless, consumers have the need to interact with retailers and brands through digital engagement. Retailers and brands are pushed to offer innovative concepts that replace previous face-to-face experience with interactive online solutions.
Nevertheless, interaction and engagement in the store with products, staff, and brands will remain essential in the future. A safe environment is key in order to continue the physical experience and, thus, identifying customer needs, building relationships and loyalty, and personalizing the shopping experience. Consumers do not choose products based solely on functional value, but, rather, based on emotions that engagement and experience ensure.
4. Sustainable Practices
Consumers are more conscious now than ever. There is no planet B which speed up the need for sustainable solutions and transparent chains. Additionally, consumers are more aware that their personal health is not for granted. Therefore, a healthy diet, wellness and mental health is at the top of customers’ minds. Conscious consumers are becoming a larger and more vocal segment of the population. Implementing sustainable practices is all about demonstrating social responsibility and highlighting an ethical, honest, and responsible business. It means taking responsibility by offering consumption in good conscience by producing environmentally sound and responsible products and services.
Article written by Laura Simone Andersen, Retail Institute Scandinavia